It seems only natural to recognize the patterns of our mind and to hear the self-reports of people who see the world differently. Yet that simple turn of attention that self-reflection requires marks a giant step in our evolving consciousness.

The first turn reveals our personality structure. We can recognize thoughts as they appear and tell them to someone else. We can notice emotions as they arise and describe them to others. We can also observe somatic contractions that govern the flow of our life force. Self-reflection is the bedrock of personal change. Self-reflection reveals our Enneagram Type.

In the language of tradition, self-reflection joins two different levels of consciousness. The subjective level of our brain’s conditioned neuropathways and the pure consciousness of an Inner Witness.

In the vocabulary of practice, we relax attention to the patterns passing through our mind – thoughts, emotion, sensations — objects of attention that are structured according to type. But the pure consciousness that notes those patterns as they arise makes prayer and meditation possible.

From the viewpoint of awakening we can inwardly recognize our own type structure. We can relax cognitive “neuromarkers” such as Doubt (6) Judgement (1) and Envy (4) as they arise and before they fully engage. We can learn to release the inner passions that drive outer behavior and relieve somatic contractions that signal type distress. These capacities of mind initiate next stages of development. For who but ourselves can relax the conditioned patterns that drive us instead of acting them out?

Copyright the Narrative Enneagram School. This material was first delivered in 2015 for a Narrative School Affiliate in Paris France and again as a 2016 Plenary session for SAND Conferences (Science and Non-Duality).


Helen Palmer
Marion Gilbert


2019 IEA Global Conference

Oakland, California, USA


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